Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Our people like the ‘big stick’ over their heads – Davis

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 12:12 AM
Homer Davis, mayor of Montego Bay and chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation.
Homer Davis, mayor of Montego Bay and chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation.

WESTERN BUREAU:

MONTEGO BAY Mayor Homer Davis believes that the Government may have to take stronger measures to enforce compliance with the stated guidelines to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus as residents of the western city continue to ignore social distancing and other prevention measures.

Davis, who is also chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation, told The Gleaner on Tuesday that some vendors have refused to use the western city’s Charles Gordon Market despite extensive clean-up activities done at the facility.

“We did our fair share of work up to yesterday (Monday), by giving the market a good clean-up, and this morning we opened it for business, but the vendors refused from going inside the market,” said Davis.

“That is the struggle we’re having, as people don’t take this thing (COVID-19) seriously and they’re going about their business just the same,” added an obviously unhappy Davis.

BREACH OF POLICY

According to the mayor, the vendors’ refusal to use the market is resulting in a breach of the Government’s social-distancing policy, which mandates that persons must maintain a distance of at least one metre from each other.

“The market can give vendors and shoppers the opportunity to maintain that social distance, but they’re out on the street, bundled up on one another, and it’s not helping the situation. We shouldn’t have to call police with batons, but our people must recognise their own responsibility,” said Davis.

“I would say that the Government will have to move another step to confine people to their places of abode. Our people are just stubborn, and I don’t know what can really drive them into discipline because, our people, in my opinion, like to have a big stick over their heads,” the mayor added.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced at a press conference on Monday that stricter measures would be put in place to curtail the spread of COVID-19, for which 21 infections and one death have been recorded locally to date. The new measures include a reduction of the number of persons allowed to congregate in public spaces, from 20 to 10.

The guidelines also state that markets will continue to open at 6 a.m. and close at 2 p.m., and barbers and hairdressers must not have more than two people waiting in a salon at any one time.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com